long-sought advantage, found suddenly, at last—" and whatll
you do? You and Dellie? And Sissie?"
" What the Lordll let me," the other man answered slowly.
" Lak I done a-fore."
"Yeahf yeah! Go and crop on somebody else's ground.
That's what. And how would you like that, Uncle Willie?"
For a little while Willie Proudfit made no answer, lying
there, looking up, almost puzzledly, at the pattern of shingles
between the rafters of the porch roof. Then he said: " I ain't
a-sayen I'd find hit in my heart to lak hit. On nobody else's
"Well, I'll tell you"—and the vicious triumph in the
nephew's voice mounted—" you wouldn't lak hit. No more'n
pappy did. Fifteen years croppen, croppen fer shares on er-
nuther man's ground. His place lost, and fifteen years
croppen. Till he died. Naw, you wouldn't lak hit, Uncle
Mr. Munn already knew the place was mortgaged. Willie
Proudfit had told him that he had bought the place when he
first came back from the West, some eleven or twelve years
before, and had never managed to pay out on it. For several
years now he had barely been managing to hang on, he said.
" I oughter put more in the place in the good years, I reckin,"
he said, " but I put hit in me a house, what was extra. We
oughter lived in a pole shanty till ever foot was paid. But I
wanted Dellie to have her a good house, hit being that a-way
with a woman. A woman laks her a parler. And fer young
*uns. We figgered on young 'uns and room fer 'em. But the
young 'uns, thar ain't none. Sissie and Sylvestus, but not our
own." Then he added: "The Lord's give me more, some
ways, than a man kin ask, I reckin. But hit looks lak He
holds just one thing back from a man, so a man kin know
in his heart He's the Lord."
On another occasion, later, Willie Proudfit had come out of
one of his long spells of silence to say: "One time, a man
could go out West. And maybe git him a good piece of
ground. Lak my pappy done, leave-en this country in sixty-